“Only when we accept the fact that we are where we are because of choices we’ve made in the past can we live every day of the rest of our lives in the certain knowledge that we can do anything we want to do if we simply make the right choices.” ~ Jim Stovall
If there is one thing that priests hear quite often, it is someone who says that they are haunted by their past decisions. Their sins, whether acts of commission or omission, weigh them down and they cannot seem to quit thinking about them.
This becomes especially true the older one gets and the closer, then, one comes to the Lord calling that person from this life to the next. That person often becomes terrified that the sins of the past may prevent them from being able to go to heaven and live with the Lord. They fear their impending judgment.
One thing I often tell people in that position is to trust in God who desires nothing but for us to return to Him. When we are plagued by thoughts of hopelessness, that is generally the devil trying to get us to lose hope and, in the process, reject any help that may be available from God. God is not the one who wants us lost. He gave His Son to us that we might be saved and His Son paid the price for our sins, once for all, on the cross. Jesus’ death and resurrection are the causes of joy, not condemnation.
When we have brand new servers, they are generally afraid that they are going to make mistakes at the altar. I assure them that they are, indeed, going to make mistakes. That is inevitable. I let them know of some of my mistakes as a brand new server. Then, I remind them that we are who we are not because of our mistakes; but, rather, how we learn from our mistakes.
If we allow regret and fear into our lives, we can become “frozen in place” and fail to grow. We can lose sight of the path that leads us to the Father. When that happens, the enemy wins. Do not allow him to win. Rather, claim the victory that comes to you in Christ Jesus. Learn from the poor decisions you may have made and become a different, a better, person.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for those who are so haunted by the decisions that they have made that they have become immobilized. Ask God to give them the grace to break free of their fears.